Recently, I was in an accident that resulted in a crush injury to my left lower leg. I was admitted to the hospital and had to have an emergency surgery for compartment syndrome to release the pressure building in my leg in order to save it.
I consider myself a fairly active, somewhat fit person—not as much as some but more than others. I think the human body is AMAZING! I enjoy being active and seeing what my body can do.
Would I Ever Be the Same?
That being said as I lay in the emergency room I was starting to panic, even through all the pain meds. X-rays were taken, but nothing was broken. Still, I had extreme pain and pressure in my leg. Trying to lay it off the hospital bed was excruciating.
I was given pain medication around the clock, and I was diagnosed with compartment syndrome. This means there is too much pressure in the muscle compartments of the leg and the pressure starts to crush the nerve and destroy tissue.
An emergency surgery was happening. I wanted to yell out, “WHAT, this can’t be happening!” I had never had surgery in my 44 years. The only other time I was in the hospital was when my children were born and that was a wonderful, joyful experience. (Well maybe not wonderful and joyful, but it had a wonderful outcome.) This experience was not like that. I had already received a priesthood blessing but another one was given to me before surgery.
A New Reality
I woke up that evening in my hospital room with my left leg completely swollen and bandaged from knee to ankle. To me this was devastating. Not only was I unable to get around on my own, but the pain, while not as bad as before the surgery, was still there. I had no motivation to move, but I was craving being able to get up and see what I could do. And when I say see what I could do I mean see if I could stand next to my bed. The next step was walking the ten feet to the bathroom.
The morning after surgery I was able to stand and walk with a walker. It was still painful at this point, but I was determined to be up on my feet. My day was filled with nurses, family and friends visiting and food. Meal times were a pleasant distraction for me.
A resident came to check on my wound and to change the dressing. I was apprehensive to say the least. It was strange to see myself in this way. It was a bit of an out of body experience. I couldn’t imagine how my leg was ever going to be the same. I thought for sure this was the end of life as I knew it. I know that sounds pretty dramatic, but that’s what I thought.
My days were filled with distractions, but at night, it was dark and still with only the beeping of the monitor and the distant sound of the nurse’s station. I couldn’t sleep for more than a few hours in the hospital. If it wasn’t the nurses coming in to check vitals, it was the IV monitor going off or having to go to the bathroom (which was a lot because of the IV.)
This is when I doubted. This is when all my fears came to the surface and I felt really alone. This time I couldn’t talk my way out, and I was scared. I was scared that I would never be the same or do the same things and that my whole life was changing, and I couldn’t do anything about it.
A Plea for Help
I said out loud three simple words, “PLEASE HELP ME.” That was it; it was not a formal prayer but more of a plea. It was then I felt an overwhelming sense of peace wash over me. I didn’t know how this trial of mine was going to turn out. I just knew I was at peace with whatever was to happen, and I could handle it. My worries and concerns had not changed, but I was comforted.
In John 14:27 it says:
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
He was there; he was aware of me when I needed Him.
I don’t understand all the workings of the gospel but I know this: when we are at our darkest and most lonely place all we need to do is ask for Him and we can feel His love and comfort. Christ’s Atonement is not only for our sins but also for our suffering.
He will be there for us when we need him no matter what stage or place in our lives we may be in.